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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

End to Government spending fight could come to a close soon

Congressional leaders presented the highly anticipated government funding package early on Thursday, which includes six bills and spans more than 1,000 pages, features money for the departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, Labor and Health and Human Services, as well as funds for foreign operations, financial services and the legislative branch

The $1.2 trillion package paves the way for lawmakers to bring an end to a months-long funding saga and ward off a partial government shutdown ahead of a Friday night deadline. If approved, the package would take the threat of a government shutdown off the table until the beginning of the next fiscal year on Oct. 1.

The proposed package gives both Republicans and Democrats something to be happy about.  House Speaker Mike Johnson celebrated the package in a statement early Thursday, saying "House Republicans have achieved significant conservative policy wins" during this year's appropriations process.

"This FY24 appropriations legislation is a serious commitment to strengthening our national defense by moving the Pentagon toward a focus on its core mission while expanding support for our brave men and women who serve in uniform," Johnson said. "Importantly, it halts funding for the United Nations agency which employed terrorists who participated in the October 7 attacks against Israel."

Earlier Wednesday, multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations said that the package would include a ban on all direct U.S. funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, the main humanitarian agency operating in Gaza.

Johnson said the package would also increase U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's detention capacity from 34,000 to 42,000 beds, and provide funding for about 22,000 Border Patrol agents.

"In addition, the bipartisan agreement reached to fund the Department of Homeland Security moves the Department's operations toward enforcing our border and immigration laws," Johnson's statement read. "It significantly cuts funding to NGOs that incentivize illegal immigration and increases detention capacity and the number of Border Patrol agents to match levels in the House-passed appropriations bill and the Secure the Border Act."

The annual spending bills have been embroiled in conflict this year, and the disagreements took on new significance amid an ongoing dispute about how to address border security in Congress.

Lawmakers are set to leave Washington for a two-week recess beginning next week— pending delay, which would require lawmakers to work over the weekend.

With the text and expected votes on the package, Congress is nearing a resolution to the government funding dilemma that has been prolonged for months. The package is the second of two — lawmakers approved funding that covers a smaller portion of the government earlier this month.

"We had to get the appropriations process done. I'm delighted to tell you that we're coming to the end of that," House Speaker Mike Johnson said at a news conference Wednesday morning. "I think the final product is something that we were able to achieve a lot of key provisions in and win and a move in the direction that we want even with our tiny, historically small majority."


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